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The Store at Five Corners has a new manager and is expected to reopen after more than a year of closure.

Historic Williamstown Store Set To Reopen In June

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Thomas and John 'Jack' Warren are cautioned by Selectwoman Jane Allen during Tuesday's public hearings on alcohol licenses about fake IDs and other ways teens attempt to acquire alcohol.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Store at Five Corners will reopen more than a year after its doors were shuttered for financial reasons.

The store's new manager, Ryan Hassett, said the expectation was to reopen on June 11.

The Selectmen, acting as the Licensing Commission, on Tuesday approved a renewal of the store's wine and malt beverage package store license along with several other license applications.

The board met a day later than usual because of the Monday holiday.

Attorney Harris N. Aaronson, representing owner Berkshire Corners LLC, said familial changes related to the Store at Five Corners had been overcome and Hassett had been selected by the Lewis family to operate the store.

The store was purchased by Franklin C. Lewis in 2009 and the adjacent Green River Farm in April the following year. But its operation was marked by low business and squabbling with South Williamstown neighbors over an intricate playground structure at the farm. The 200-year-old business and the farm were closed in early January 2011.

Some residents had floated the idea of reopening the store as a nonprofit but that plan never got off the ground.

Aaronson said his appearance before the board was "almost an instant replay of what we did three years ago." The operations and offerings of the store would not significantly change and the renovations and other work proposed in 2009 had been completed. The principals of Berkshire Corners LLC had changed slightly but were still Lewis family members.

Hassett has been elected president of the operating corporation; Lewis remains the land owner and his daughter, Kristin Lewis, is the proprietor of the corporation.

Hassett, of Bennington, Vt., had worked for Franklin Lewis in a previous business venture and has experience in marketing and retail operations. His family, he said, also has been in the restaurant business for many years

He acknowledged the importance of the store to South Williamstown.

"It's been a cornerstone of the community for a long time," said Hassett, afterward, adding he would have more information on the store's reopening soon. 

"Mr. Lewis has great faith in him as does the other members of the family in regards to being able to take the reins of the Store at Five Corners and bringing it back to what we want it to be," said Aaronson.

The board, consisting on Tuesday of Selectmen Jane Allen, Tom Costley and Ron Turbin, said they hoped the store would do well.

"It's terrific to have the Store at Five Corners open," said Turbin. "We wish you all the best."

TJ Warren Inc., operating as TJ's Convenience Store at 824 Simonds Road, was approved for a wine and malt beverage package store license with John "Jack" Warren as manager. Warren, and his brother, Thomas, said business had been down and that this was "an opportunity to provide another line of business." The business had had a package store license under a previous owner.

The theater festival was approved for an alteration of premises and an all-alcohol seasonal license. The alteration will be a roped-in area on the left lawn of the '62 Center for Dance and Theater, accessible only through the lobby, for consumption of spirits. The festival already had a seasonal malt beverage and wine license. Festival Chairman Ira Lapidus will continue on the license as manager.

All three venues were warned to take underage drinking seriously and were apprised that they would fall under compliance checks. The licenses must still be approved by the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

In other business:

• The board approved the 8th annual Hoosic River Ride to take place on Aug. 25.

• Approved the annual Saulner Drive Block Party for Friday, June 15.

• Confirmed the town manager's appointments of Thomas Ennis to the Conservation Commission and Scott Wong to the Historical Commission, both terms ending June 30, 2015.

• Set public hearings for June 11 at 7:05 and 7:10, respectively, for change in liquor manager for Wild Oats Market and all-alcohol seasonal license for the Williamstown Theatre Festival Cabaret.

Tags: alochol licenses,   appointments,   Business,   Store at Five Corners,   

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